Stories abound about the demise of the print media as circulations shrink and readers gravitate to social media. Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald in 2013 about having kicked her four-newspapers-a-day habit, journalist, Anne Summers, described digital as “less about news and more about knowledge”. But whether about knowledge or news, many people still like the language and style of the long form, and find that some social media writers are lackadaisical when it comes to content, attention to detail, grammar and style.
Irrespective of print or digital, some communicators do not seem to know when to use a plural or singular verb, or that “revert back”, “very unique”, “free gift” and “irregardless”, are incorrect. When to use “principal” or “principle”, “practice” or “practise”, “formally” or “formerly” and “discreet” or “discrete” has not registered with some writers.
Interestingly, younger folk’s use of terms such as “awesome” or “fully sick” when something is impressive is now common. A Sydney Morning Herald Column8 recently posited details of an overheard conversation where a boy wanting to describe something as being better than “awesome”, upped the ante with “awesomer”.
So what about more use of some old-fashioned expressions such as: “Too Right”, “Bloody Oath”, “My Word”, “Stone the Crows”, “Turn it Up”, “Put the Bite On” and “Skite”.
“Bonza”, “Corker” and “Humdinger” seem to have similar connotations. Former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd was keen on “zipping off” and the Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszcsuk’s use of “let the cat out of the bag” in recent interviews seemed to demonstrates her down-to-earth style.
“Faceless Men” being used generically to describe someone plotting against another is perhaps akin to “Xeroxing” or “Hoovering” for photocopying or vacuuming. But instead of the question “What’s your back story?” could interviewers just ask: “What have you done in life?” The use of contemporary expressions: “It is what it is”, “Shit happens” and the very American, “Ain’t that the truth” are awesome in their effectiveness in summing up a grim story or stark situation!
And who wouldn’t love the word pictures of food writers such as Larissa Dubecki’s in The Age: “a ghostly caul of milk skin [reminiscent of] David Lynch meets haute cuisine”, the description of restaurant décor as having “the icy good looks of a Hitchcock blonde” or The Sydney Morning Herald’s Terry Durack reference to being “a slut for pig’s kidney and noodles”.